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New York (CNN Business)Some of the most popular late night shows, including “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” are pulling their audiences because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
Citing an abundance of caution over the spread of the novel coronavirus, New York-based late night shows “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” will begin to tape their broadcasts without a live studio audience.
“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” NBC said in a statement, adding that “as a precautionary measure” the “Tonight Show” and “Late Night” will suspend live audiences starting on Monday, March 16.
NBC’s other major New York-based late night show, “Saturday Night Live,” is on a scheduled hiatus until March 28.
CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” which is the highest-rated show in late night, said in a statement that there has not been any “specific developments at The Ed Sullivan Theater to cause concern for audiences with plans to attend the show tonight, tomorrow, or who have attended in recent weeks.”
The decision to go without an audience was made in regard to the virus and “the uncertainty of the situation for future weeks” as coronavirus continues to spread around the world.
Bee joked about the situation, saying in a statement she will instead “do the show in front of a mirror, which I actually prefer.”
“Despite the efforts being taken, we still have heard from Sean Spicer that tonight’s taping ‘was the largest audience ever to witness an [taping of Full Frontal], period, both in person and around the globe.’ Wow!,” Bee said in a statement.
It is unclear if late night shows not based in New York, like ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” both of which are based in Los Angeles, will also tape without an audience.
TBS added that “Conan’s” remaining shows this week have “been pre-taped and that he is on an already scheduled hiatus for the next two weeks.”
Late night joins other shows in the entertainment world that have moved forward with broadcasts without a live audience. “Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune” and daytime TV shows like “The View” have begun to tape shows without audiences due to the concerns over the coronavirus.
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